A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two intersecting lines or bars, usually perpendicular to each other. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally. A cross of oblique lines, in the shape of the Latin letter X, is also termed a saltire in heraldic terminology.
X is the 24th and antepenultimate letter in the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet.
A saltire, also called Saint Andrew's Cross or the crux decussata, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross, like the shape of the letter X in Roman type. The word comes from the Middle French sautoir, Middle Latin saltatoria ("stirrup").
The word cross is recorded in 10th-century Old English as cros, exclusively for the instrument of Christ's crucifixion, replacing the native Old English word rood . The word's history is complicated; it appears to have entered English from Old Irish, possibly via Old Norse, ultimately from the Latin crux (or its accusative crucem and its genitive crucis), "stake, cross". The English verb to cross arises from the noun c. 1200, first in the sense "to make the sign of the cross"; the generic meaning "to intersect" develops in the 15th century. The Latin word was, however, influenced by popular etymology by a native Germanic word reconstructed as *krukjo (English crook , Old English crycce, Old Norse krokr, Old High German krucka). This word, by conflation with Latin crux, gave rise to Old French crocier (modern French crosse), the term for a shepherd's crook, adopted in English as crosier.
Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.
The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.
A rood or rood cross, sometimes known as a triumphal cross, is a cross or crucifix, especially the large Crucifixion set above the entrance to the chancel of a medieval church. Alternatively, it is a large sculpture or painting of the crucifixion of Jesus.
Latin crux referred to the gibbet where criminals were executed, a stake or pole, with or without transom, on which the condemned were impaled or hanged, but more particularly a cross or the pole of a carriage.From this word was derived the Latin verb crucio "to put to death on the cross" or (more frequently) "to put to the rack, to torture, torment" especially in reference to mental troubles. The field of etymology is of no help in any effort to trace a supposed original meaning of crux. A crux can be of various shapes: from a single beam used for impaling or suspending ( crux simplex ) to the various composite kinds of cross (crux compacta) made from more beams than one. The latter shapes include not only the traditional †-shaped cross (the crux immissa), but also the T-shaped cross (the crux commissa or Tau Cross), which the Early Christian descriptions of the execution cross indicate as the normal form in use at that time, and the X-shaped cross (the crux decussata or saltire).
The term crux simplex was invented by Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) to indicate a plain transom-less wooden stake used for executing either by affixing the victim to it or by impaling him with it. He thus distinguished two types of crux simplex: the crux simplex ad affixionem and the crux simplex ad infixionem.
The tau cross is a T-shaped cross all three ends of which are sometimes expanded. It is so called because shaped like the Greek letter tau, which in its upper-case form has the same appearance as Latin and English letter T.
Early Christian descriptions of the execution cross present it always as composed of two wooden pieces, in spite of the variations in which the Romans applied capital punishment. Non-Christian writers of the same period give an identical picture of the instrument ordinarily used in putting people to death by crucifixion at that time. Neither the Christians nor the non-Christians specify whether the two pieces of timber of the normal execution cross were permanently conjoined or were merely put together for the purpose of the execution.
The Greek equivalent of Latin crux "stake, gibbet" is σταυρός stauros, found in texts of four centuries or more before the gospels and always in the plural number to indicate a stake or pole. From the first century BC it is used to indicate an instrument used in executions. The Greek word is used in Early Christian descriptions of the execution cross, which indicate that its normal shape was similar to the Greek letter tau (Τ).
Stauros (σταυρός) is a Greek word which in the oldest forms is found used in the plural number in the sense of an upright stake or pole. In Koine Greek, in use during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, within which the New Testament was written, it was used in the singular number with reference to an instrument of capital punishment; in modern Greek it is used to refer only to a cross, real or metaphorical.
Due to the simplicity of the design (two intersecting lines), cross-shaped incisions make their appearance from deep prehistory; as petroglyphs in European cult caves, dating back to the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic, and throughout prehistory to the Iron Age.[ citation needed ] Also of prehistoric age are numerous variants of the simple cross mark, including the crux gammata with curving or angular lines, and the Egyptian crux ansata with a loop.
A petroglyph is an image created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as "carving", "engraving", or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images. Petroglyphs are found worldwide, and are often associated with prehistoric peoples. The word comes from the Greek prefix petro-, from πέτρα petra meaning "stone", and γλύφω glýphō meaning "carve", and was originally coined in French as pétroglyphe.
Cult is literally the "care" owed to deities and to temples, shrines, or churches. Cult is embodied in ritual and ceremony. Its present or former presence is made concrete in temples, shrines and churches, and cult images, including cult images and votive offerings at votive sites.
The Upper Paleolithic is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity in early modern humans, until the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture.
Speculation has associated the cross symbol – even in the prehistoric period – with astronomical or cosmological symbology involving "four elements" (Chevalier, 1997) or the cardinal points, or the unity of a vertical axis mundi or celestial pole with the horizontal world (Koch, 1955). Speculation of this kind became especially popular in the mid- to late-19th century in the context of comparative mythology seeking to tie Christian mythology to ancient cosmological myths. Influential works in this vein included G. de Mortillet (1866),L. Müller (1865), W. W. Blake (1888), Ansault (1891), etc.
Classical elements typically refer to the concepts of earth, water, air, fire, and (later) aether, which were proposed to explain the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances. Ancient cultures in Persia, Greece, Babylonia, Japan, Tibet, and India had similar lists, sometimes referring in local languages to "air" as "wind" and the fifth element as "void". The Chinese Wu Xing system lists Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, though these are described more as energies or transitions rather than as types of material.
The axis mundi, in certain beliefs and philosophies, is the world center, or the connection between Heaven and Earth. As the celestial pole and geographic pole, it expresses a point of connection between sky and earth where the four compass directions meet. At this point travel and correspondence is made between higher and lower realms. Communication from lower realms may ascend to higher ones and blessings from higher realms may descend to lower ones and be disseminated to all. The spot functions as the omphalos (navel), the world's point of beginning.
The world is the planet Earth and all life on it, including human civilization. In a philosophical context, the "world" is the whole of the physical Universe, or an ontological world. In a theological context, the world is the material or the profane sphere, as opposed to the celestial, spiritual, transcendent or sacred spheres. "End of the world" scenarios refer to the end of human history, often in religious contexts.
In the European Bronze Age the cross symbol appeared to carry a religious meaning, perhaps as a symbol of consecration, especially pertaining to burial.
The cross sign occurs trivially in tally marks, and develops into a number symbol independently in the Roman numerals (X "ten"), the Chinese rod numerals (十 "ten") and the Brahmi numerals ("four", whence the numeral 4).
In the Phoenician alphabet and derived scripts, the cross symbol represented the phoneme /t/, i.e. the letter taw, which is the historical predecessor of Latin T. The letter name taw means "mark", presumably continuing the Egyptian hieroglyph "two crossed sticks" (Gardiner Z9).
According to W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words , worshippers of Tammuz in Chaldea and thereabouts used the cross as symbol of that god.
The shape of the cross (crux, stauros "stake, gibbet"), as represented by the letter T, came to be used as a "seal" or symbol of Early Christianity by the 2nd century. τὸ κυριακὸν σημεῖον ("the Lord's sign") he repeats the idea, current as early as the Epistle of Barnabas, that the number 318 (in Greek numerals, ΤΙΗ) in Genesis 14:14 was a foreshadowing (a "type") of the cross (the letter Tau) and of Jesus (the letters Iota Eta). Clement's contemporary Tertullian rejects the accusation that Christians are crucis religiosi (i.e. "adorers of the gibbet"), and returns the accusation by likening the worship of pagan idols to the worship of poles or stakes. In his book De Corona, written in 204, Tertullian tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace repeatedly on their foreheads the sign of the cross.Clement of Alexandria in the early 3rd century calls it
While early Christians used the T-shape to represent the cross in writing and gesture, the use of the Greek cross and Latin cross, i.e. crosses with intersecting beams, appears in Christian art towards the end of Late Antiquity. An early example of the cruciform halo, used to identify Christ in paintings, is found in the Miracles of the Loaves and Fishes mosaic of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Ravenna (6th century). The Patriarchal cross, a Latin cross with an additional horizontal bar, first appears in the 10th century. A wide variation of cross symbols is introduced for the purposes of heraldry beginning in the age of the Crusades.
The cross mark is used to mark a position, or as a check mark, but also to mark deletion. Derived from Greek Chi are the Latin letter X, Cyrillic Kha and possibly runic Gyfu.
Egyptian hieroglyphs involving cross shapes include ankh "life", ndj "protect" and nfr "good; pleasant, beautiful".
Sumerian cuneiform had a simple cross-shaped character, consisting of a horizontal and a vertical wedge (𒈦), read as maš "tax, yield, interest"; the superposition of two diagonal wedges results in a decussate cross (𒉽), read as pap "first, pre-eminent" (the superposition of these two types of crosses results in the eight-pointed star used as the sign for "sky" or "deity" (𒀭), DINGIR). The cuneiform script has other, more complex, cruciform characters, consisting of an arrangement of boxes or the fourfold arrangement of other characters, including the archaic cuneiform characters LAK-210, LAK-276, LAK-278, LAK-617 and the classical sign EZEN (𒂡).
Phoenician tāw is still cross-shaped in Paleo-Hebrew alphabet and in some Old Italic scripts (Raetic and Lepontic), and its descendant T becomes again cross-shaped in the Latin minuscule t. The plus sign (+) is derived from Latin t via a simplification of a ligature for et "and" (introduced by Johannes Widmann in the late 15th century).
The letter Aleph is cross-shaped in Aramaic and paleo-Hebrew.
Egyptian hieroglyphs with cross-shapes include Gardiner Z9 – Z11 ("crossed sticks", "crossed planks").
Other, unrelated cross-shaped letters include Brahmi ka (predecessor of the Devanagari letter क) and Old Turkic (Orkhon) d² and Old Hungarian b, and Katakana ナ na and メ me .
The multiplication sign (×), often attributed to William Oughtred (who first used it in an appendix to the 1618 edition of John Napier's Descriptio) apparently had been in occasional use since the mid 16th century.
Other typographical symbols resembling crosses include the dagger or obelus (†), the Chinese (十, Kangxi radical 24) and Roman (X) ten.
Unicode has a variety of cross symbols in the "Dingbat" block (U+2700–U+27BF) :
The Miscellaneous Symbols block (U+2626 to U+262F) adds three specific Christian cross variants, viz. the Patriarchal cross (☦), Cross of Lorraine (☨) and "Cross of Jerusalem" (implemented as Cross potent, ☩).
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The following is a list of cross symbols, except for variants of the Christian cross and Heraldic crosses, for which see the dedicated lists at Christian cross variants and Crosses in heraldry, respectively.
|Ankh||The ankh or crux ansata, an Egyptian hieroglyph representing "life".|
|Basque cross||The Basque cross or lauburu.|
|the Sun cross||The "sun cross" or "wheel cross" appears with some regularity in prehistoric European artefacts, usually interpreted as a solar symbol, perhaps representing the spoked wheel of the Sun chariot.|
The swastika or crux gammata (in heraldry fylfot ), historically used as a symbol in Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, and widely popular in the early 20th century as a symbol of good luck or prosperity before adopted as a symbol of Nazism in the 1920s and 30s.
|Compass rose||A compass rose, sometimes called a windrose, is a figure on a compass, map, nautical chart or monument used to display the orientation of the cardinal directions and often appears as a cross tapering to triangular points.|
|Crossed keys||Symbol of the Papacy used in various emblems representing the keys to heaven.|
|Crossed swords||The crossed swords symbol (⚔ at Unicode U+2694) is used to represent battlegrounds on maps. It is also used to show that person died in battle or that a war machine was lost in action. Two crossed swords also look like a Christian cross and the mixed symbolism has been used in military decorations. It is also a popular way to display swords on a wall often with a shield in the center|
|Four-leaf clover||Used as a symbol for luck as well as a stand in for a cross in various works.|
|Skull and crossbones||Traditionally used to mark Spanish cemeteries; the symbol evolved to represent death/danger, poison, and pirates.|
Cross shapes are made by a variety of physical gestures. Crossing the fingers of one hand is a common invocation of the symbol. The sign of the cross associated with Christian genuflection is made with one hand: in Eastern Orthodox tradition the sequence is head-heart-right shoulder-left shoulder, while in Oriental Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican tradition the sequence is head-heart-left-right.
Crossing the index fingers of both hands represents and a charm against evil in European folklore. Other gestures involving more than one hand include the "cross my heart" movement associated with making a promise and the Tau shape of the referee's "time out" hand signal.
In Chinese-speaking cultures, crossed index fingers represent the number 10.
Digamma, waw, or wau is an archaic letter of the Greek alphabet. It originally stood for the sound but it has remained in use principally as a Greek numeral for 6. Whereas it was originally called waw or wau, its most common appellation in classical Greek is digamma; as a numeral, it was called episēmon during the Byzantine era and is now known as stigma after the Byzantine ligature combining σ-τ as ϛ.
The Phoenician alphabet, called by convention the Proto-Canaanite alphabet for inscriptions older than around 1050 BC, is the oldest verified alphabet. It is an alphabet of abjad type, consisting of 22 consonant letters only, leaving vowel sounds implicit, although certain late varieties use matres lectionis for some vowels. It was used to write Phoenician, a Northern Semitic language, used by the ancient civilization of Phoenicia in modern-day Syria, Lebanon, and northern Israel.
The ankh is an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol that was most commonly used in writing and in Egyptian art to represent the word for "life" and, by extension, as a symbol of life itself.
The Rose Cross is a symbol largely associated with the semi-mythical Christian Rosenkreuz, Qabbalist and alchemist and founder of the Rosicrucian Order. The Rose Cross is said to be a cross with a red, golden or white rose at its centre and symbolizes the teachings of a western esoteric tradition formed within the Christian tenets, albeit a Christianity not yet conspicuously in evidence:
What think you, loving people, and how seem you affected, seeing that you now understand and know, that we acknowledge ourselves truly and sincerely to profess Christ, condemn the Pope, addict ourselves to the true Philosophy, lead a Christian life, and daily call, entreat and invite many more unto our Fraternity, unto whom the same Light of God likewise appeareth?
The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late ninth or early eighth century BC. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script in history to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants. In Archaic and early Classical times, the Greek alphabet existed in many different local variants, but, by the end of the fourth century BC, the Eucleidean alphabet, with twenty-four letters, ordered from alpha to omega, had become standard and it is this version that is still used to write Greek today. These twenty-four letters are: Α α, Β β, Γ γ, Δ δ, Ε ε, Ζ ζ, Η η, Θ θ, Ι ι, Κ κ, Λ λ, Μ μ, Ν ν, Ξ ξ, Ο ο, Π π, Ρ ρ, Σ σ/ς, Τ τ, Υ υ, Φ φ, Χ χ, Ψ ψ, and Ω ω.
De is a letter of the Cyrillic script.
Ukrainian Ye is a character of the Cyrillic script. It is a separate letter in the Ukrainian alphabet, the Pannonian Rusyn alphabet, and both the Carpathian Rusyn alphabets; in all of these, it comes directly after Е. In modern Church Slavonic, it is considered a variant form of Ye (Е е). Until the mid-19th century, Є/є was also used in Serbian. Other modern Slavonic languages may use Є/є shapes instead of Е/е for decorative purposes. Then, the letter is usually referred to by the older name Yest and the descriptive name Long E.
Stigma (ϛ) is a ligature of the Greek letters sigma (Σ) and tau (Τ), which was used in writing Greek between the Middle Ages and the 19th century. It is also used as a numeral symbol for the number 6. In this unrelated function, it is a continuation of the old letter digamma, which had served as a numeral since antiquity and was conflated with the σ-τ ligature in the minuscule handwriting of the Middle Ages.
The instrument of Jesus' crucifixion is generally taken to have been composed of an upright wooden beam to which was added a transom, thus forming a "cruciform" or T-shaped structure.
Many shapes have metaphorical names, i.e., their names are metaphors: these shapes are named after a most common object that has it. For example, "U-shape" is a shape that resembles the letter U, a bell-shaped curve has the shape of the vertical cross-section of a bell, etc. These terms may variously refer to objects, their cross sections or projections.
Christian symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, acts, artwork or events, by Christianity. It invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas.
The Christian cross, seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus, is the best-known symbol of Christianity. It is related to the crucifix and to the more general family of cross symbols, the term cross itself being detached from the original specifically Christian meaning in modern English.
The staurogram (⳨), also monogrammatic cross or tau-rho, is a ligature composed of a superposition of the Greek letters tau (Τ) and rho (Ρ).
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The shape of the [two beamed cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt.
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